With tears in her eyes, Yucklan Sancaro accepted the Humming Bird Medal (Bronze) on behalf of her 17-year-old son David Sancaro at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, Port-of-Spain, last...
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Asami’s killer missing front teeth—pathologist
The person who murdered Japanese steelpan player was left-handed and missing four to six front teeth, according to forensic pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov.
Alexandrov disclosed these details publicly for the first time as he addressed students during the Ministry of Education’s Caribbean Youth Science Forum at the University of the West Indies in St Augustine on Thursday.
He made reference to Asami Nagakiya’s case as he made a plea for closer collaboration with police and pathologists in an effort to solve crimes. Nagakiya’s body, still dressed in her Carnival costume, was found in the Queen’s Park Savannah on Ash Wednesday in 2016. She was strangled to death.
“It (the murder scene) happens to be one mile away from the Forensic Science Centre and they did not call me to the scene. They put the body in the mortuary so by the time I came it was frozen. I would have understood if it were in Tobago,” Alexandrov said as he claimed that the delay and change in surroundings affected his ability to estimate the time of Nagakiya’s death.
Referring to photographs of Nagakiya’s body Alexandrov pointed out to the students how he was able to assist police in building a profile of her killer.
He said the marks of violence to her neck showed that her attacker was left-handed and bite marks on her cheeks showed that the attacker was missing between four to six front teeth.
He said the information was used to clear the 10 suspects who were initially detained for the crime. Despite Alexandrov’s profile, the case remains unsolved.
Alexandrov said an increase in collaboration between homicide detectives and forensic pathologists may assist in improving the country’s detection and conviction rates for murder.
Giving examples of his experience in working on homicide cases in T&T since 2009, Alexandrov said that he felt that the police did not understand the important role that professionals such as himself can play in solving murders.
“They (the police) think that forensic pathology is just determining the cause of death. It is not just butchering a body but can be used to draw a conclusion regarding the scenario that caused death,” Alexandrov said.
He complained that there were difficulties in determining an approximate time of death as pathologists usually viewed bodies hours after death and almost never are allowed to inspect crime scenes as soon as bodies are found.
Alexandrov described the method of using District Medical Officers (DMOs) to view bodies on crime scenes and ordering autopsies as outdated.
“This is a general practitioner who is appointed to view the body. It’s ridiculous. It is like asking an optometrist to deliver a baby,” he said as he noted that the archaic system was also still in use in other Caribbean islands.
Alexandrov also complained over the failure of police to provide possible murder weapons found on crime scene before autopsies are performed.
“I cannot recall a single occasion when they recovered a weapon and brought it to my attention,” Alexandrov said as he claimed that the evidence would assist him in recreating the last moments of victim’s life which can be used in court to disprove possible defences raised by accused persons.
Alexandrov also produced photographs of the autopsies of Richard and Grace Wheeler, a British couple who were murdered during a botched robbery at their Tobago home in 2015.
He claimed that while police initially believed that the couple were chopped to death, his investigations showed that they were beaten to death with a piece of wood and the male victim was tortured with a heating iron before his death. Both items were then recovered at the crime scene.